Just one more day, please...that's the feeling I had as I waited for the taxi in front of the hotel on a chilly Indianapolis Sunday morning this past December. The Circle Track crew had just completed a weeklong stay in Indiana for the annual Performance Racing Industry trade show, commonly known as PRI. But this was the first time in six years that the show had been in the geographically centrally located town of Indy.
By now, most if not all of you reading this know the story. When the city of Indianapolis made the decision to renovate their convention center, which is located right next to Lucas Oil Stadium where the Colts play, back in 2005 PRI moved the show to Orlando, Florida. Even though the convention center was completed a few years later, PRI opted to stay in O-town. That ruffled some feathers and gave rise to IMIS (or the International Motorsports Industry Show), an Indianapolis-based show specifically targeting the hardcore racer and taking place the week after PRI. Two major shows for this industry was bad...straining manufacturer budgets and causing many in the industry to spend half of December traveling.
Enter SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) the trade association and industry steward for the automotive aftermarket of which racing and motorsports is a vital component. In a nutshell, SEMA buys both shows, combines them into a single event and moves the thing back to the expanded Indianapolis Convention Center.
The result? Success!
As you can see from this month's cover the show floor was jammed packed with exhibitors and spectators alike. New products spilled over from booths and there was a good all around vibe from show goers and manufacturers. Almost all of the exhibitors my team and I talked with reported good traffic flow all three days from real racers, serious retail buyers, and even dealers. In fact, one established manufacturer reported signing up three new distributors at the show, a story I hadn't heard of in a quite a while.
When SEMA bought and combined the shows, there was some fear that the resulting product would be turned into a mini-SEMA Show. After all, SEMA is the association for the automotive aftermarket and the producer of one of the largest (if not the largest) trade show in the country, the SEMA Show, which takes place in Las Vegas in early November. Would PRI just become a watered down version of that show, showcasing products that have nothing to do with going fast and turning left?
I'm here to tell you, absolutely not! This year's PRI Show was 100 percent racing from the minute you walked through the door. And you can bet it is going to stay that way long into the future. SEMA is completely committed to making that show bigger and better for the hard-core racer and that bodes well for our industry. Personally, it was almost everything that I had hoped it would be, there is just one little thing I need to really push it over the top...I need it to be just one more day longer...please?
Until next month, go fast and turn left.